Tuesday 1 May 2012
Government must act to end child detention
Detention of children in Australia must end and the 428 children currently waiting for immigration processing in detention must be placed in the community, according to Early Childhood Australia (ECA), the peak organisation dedicated to advocacy for young children in Australia.
In May, the global End Immigration Detention of Children campaign is putting a spotlight on Australia’s ongoing immigration detention of children.
ECA Chief Executive Officer Pam Cahir said she wholeheartedly supported the campaign and hoped its special focus on Australia this month would motivate the Federal Government to take action to properly protect children’s rights.
“It’s a huge concern that children are being put into detention in this country. A compassionate Government should be promoting and protecting the rights of all children and young people, including those seeking asylum.
“The government needs to show moral leadership in dealing with the complexities of this situation and place families with children and unaccompanied minors in the community while their claims are assessed.”
Ms Cahir said the healthy psychosocial development of children depends in large measure on the nurturing and stimulation that children receive as they grow, and on the opportunities that they have to learn new skills.
“For refugee children, healthy development and wellbeing also requires coping effectively with the multiple trauma of loss, uprooting from culture and place and often more damaging experiences.
“For children in detention the trauma of this experience is exacerbated. ”
Ms Cahir said ECA would like to see the government act swiftly to ensure that not one more child is placed in detention in Australia.
ECA have developed the following recommendations in relation to refugee children and children of asylum seekers:
- Families with children and unaccompanied minors should be placed in the community while their claims are assessed.
- In the event that an application for refugee status is unsuccessful and families and unaccompanied minors cannot return to their home country, families and unaccompanied minors should continue to live in the community until such time as they can return home.
- Families should have access to the support they need to care for their children and participate in the community.
For more information contact:
Pam Cahir, 0407 008 524 or Laura Maclean 0423 377 567